Serious questions are being raised about whether a change to the name of Victoria University of Wellington can proceed without an amending Act of Parliament, National’s List MP based in Wellington, Nicola Willis says.

“Evidence heard in the Education and Workforce Select Committee today suggests that a University name change requires a change to legislation. This is more than just approval from the Minister of Education and could mean that the name change could be blocked.

“Petitioners Ross McComish and lawyer Hugh Rennie QC presented today about the legal process for changing the name of universities, outlining that in addition to a Gazette notice from the Minister, a name change may also require an amendment to the Victoria University of Wellington Act 1961.

“The petitioners pointed out that when Massey University changed its name in 1966 it did so with an amending Act of Parliament.

“This raises serious questions about whether a change to the name of Victoria University of Wellington can go ahead without the support of a majority of MPs.

“It would be interesting to see whether a majority in Parliament would support a change to name to Victoria University of Wellington. Students and graduates overwhelmingly oppose the change and a Parliamentary process would ensure their voices were heard.

“The change proposal doesn’t have the backing of the wider University community. The consultation process run by the University showed that 92 per cent of student submitters opposed the change proposal while 81 per cent of alumni opposed it.

“The Select Committee has now opened the petition for public submissions. I encourage interested people to have their say. 

“I’m a proud alumnus of Victoria University and I oppose the name change.”

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